Ideal government IT strategy – Ideal Government What do we want from Internet-age government? Wouldn't it be better if... Sun, 12 Aug 2012 09:49:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GDS design principles and design-driven public services Wed, 04 Apr 2012 08:43:51 +0000 Like a contented snore from a prolonged snooze, here’s a quick and now rare post to acknowledge the new GDS design principles:

1 Start with needs*
2 Do less
3 Design with data
4 Do the hard work to make it simple
5 Iterate. Then iterate again.
6 Build for inclusion
7 Understand context
8 Build digital services, not websites
9 Be consistent, not uniform
10 Make things open: it makes things better

It’s a great start. For digital services it strikes me as close to ideal; better than we could have thought to ask for. What we would still ask is that the notion of “starting with needs” and “doing less” be extended to policy and public services more universally.

On this basis it makes sense and feels achievable to go 100% digital for that hwich can be digitised. But it’s not just a digital thing. This is the culture we need across the board.

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Coalition promises better civil liberties policies Wed, 12 May 2010 14:09:57 +0000 The LibDem-Conservative coalition is probably the closest to Ideal outcome for civil liberties. According to the BBC

Civil liberties

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

# A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.

# The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.

# Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.

# The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

# Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

# The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

# The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

# The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

# Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

# Further regulation of CCTV.

# Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.

# A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

There’s some more to add, but it’s a very promising start.

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Possible #idealgits event: sort of “rewired state” meets “redesigned state” unConference Thu, 06 May 2010 16:02:05 +0000 Busy as we all are, @ricallan (who else) observes we might do well to schedule in a quick #idealgits event:

Date TBA in next four weeks (ie before mid June)
Time 1700-2130
Venue ideally BCS or LSE or elsewhere (any offers?)

Aim – to keep new administration listening by offering maximum bright ideas pertinent to their stated policy aims in a very short time

Aud – politicos from both sides and selected enlightened officials. Total 40-60?

Format: UnConference (building on what worked at Intellect), ie
– exposition of what crowdsourced IT strategy approach offers
– #idealgits background
– suggestion for structure based on our work to date
– invitation to any present to “lead” on a particular heading (incl a new one if they want)
– break up into groups
– resume and present back

Does this make sense? Who’s up for it?

If so next step is: secure venue, book date. I think this should be for designers as much as for contempory tech people: “redesigned state” as much as “rewired state”.

Jerry and William take #idealgits and the #CMRD to #10 Tue, 27 Apr 2010 21:33:31 +0000

Here is the picture we promised not to publish before the manifestos were out and the election under way. Jerry and William take the core Wibbies of the Ideal Government IT Strategy (#idealgits) to Downing Street, at the invitation of Jim Knight MP.

This was the logical culmination of the “courteous and mutually respectful dialogue” (#CMRD) which Michael Wills called for but then illustrated by omission.

We got there. The points on governance, architecture, procurement had been well made and well received. But the part that got most traction, with both Labour and Tory policy developers, was the new personal data agenda. The Labour manifesto says:

We will explore how to give citizens direct access to the data held on them by public agencies, so that people can use and control their own personal data in their interaction with service providers

And the Conservative manifesto says:

Wherever possible, we believe that personal data should be controlled by individual citizens themselves.

Jerry and I did #idealgits together. But William has to declare an interest which may affect what we do going forward. I’m working flat out on two fronts. First is to try to understand the wider implications of user-driven data as part of the work of research and advisory startup Ctrl-Shift. Second is to provide a service that makes it possible in the social enterprise Mydex CIC. I’ve blogged about this manifesto development at both those places.

Not sure what happens next with #idealgits. I suspect Jerry and I will do one more final write-up (perhaps with help from David at BCS again). And we promised a party, for which we have to set a date once we have our VIP visitor. Man, I cant wait!

#idealgits & the “lost decade” in identity and personal data Mon, 29 Mar 2010 21:02:22 +0000 The #idealgits process now has a supportive champion in Jim Knight, DWP Minister charged with all digital aspects of Smarter Government.

Jerry and I had a second meeting (we can’t really say where or with whom) at which it was Jim who led in setting out the case for personal control over personal data. There’s growing interest in the “framework of trust” idea for on-line identity. Now adopted by the Obama administration it was, after all, originally UK policy a decade ago. Technically it still is.

So the good news is: the UK had a good policy; it’s is still in place (including some legal underpinning), just unimplemented; the US has led decisively down this route which creates a market and gives confidence for UK government; there’s a new climate of listening and political realism, and we have the courteous and mutually respectful dialogue #CMRD. The bad news? The UK lost a decade. *sigh*

idealgits presents to Jim Knight Wed, 24 Mar 2010 22:32:08 +0000 First presentation of our crowdsourced “ideal government IT strategy” #idealgits work was yesterday to Rt Hon Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform.

Jim is tasked with all digital aspects of the Smarter Government policy.

He couldn’t have been more welcoming, attentive or delightful. Fresh from a spate of announcements the day before, the Government is still keen to achieve more clarity and direction on digital strategy, not just in remaining weeks but on the basis there will still be a job to do for years yet. The first thing Jim said was he wanted to listen, and specifically to expert input from outside Government as well as to the civil service.

This is the main – perhaps the only – problem that ever really needed fixing to start to get ideal e-enabled government right. Perhaps the courteous and mutually respectful dialogue #CMRD is all that was ever needed.

Jerry and I whizzed through:
– why it makes sense to crowdsource a government IT strategy (just as DWP itself has done under James Gardner)
– history (eg the 2004 idealgits) and where we were now
– the #idealgits process with blogs, wiki and commentable versions, weekly beer meets

Then we went through two specific examples:

– governance and architecture: how we need to heal the split between IT strategy and real work public-services issues
– identifiers and personal data: how to restore dignity and control to individuals with a VRM agenda

We had a great discussion after (with their workload and at such a time, where does a Minister like Jim get all that alert brain power from?) Whatever happens next, we left with a bouncy spring in our step and faith in democracy in fine fettle.

Many thanks to: Harry Metcalfe and The Dextrous Web for running the blog, wiki and commentbale versions; Andy Millar for designing and hand-binding the #idealgits booklets (limited edition of six); David at BCS for hosting and helping with the heroic editing day; above all to everyone who has contributed, participated and commented to date.

#idealgits continues: the commentable version is here, and is far from done.

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Preparing to present #idealgits to the Minister Mon, 22 Mar 2010 08:40:39 +0000 As the next step in the “courteous and mutually respectful dialogue” #CMRD Jerry and I have 30 mins booked with Jim Knight, the DWP Minister responsible for digital aspects of Smarter Government tomorrow Tuesday.

It’s not long, and here’s how we plan to use it:

Aim: make constructive start to respectful, creative “crowd-sourced” IT strategy dialogue which he see value and integrity in and wishes to continue

How we do it:
– seek to understand what he really needs at this stage of the cycle
– brief him on the crowdsourced policy process (with some context relating to his own priorities)
– set out specifically where #idealgits has got to and how
– explore as examples two themes:
i) the most profound issue: (restoring integrity by fixing the rupture between IT Strategy and real-life priorities, drawing on the Governance & Architecture sections)
ii) the simplest and most radical: (personal data based on restoring control to the individual; the VRM angle)
– any recommendations, take-aways, next steps

There just won’t be time for anything else.

The commentable current version (which we’d still describe as far from final) is here.

Meanwhile I’m gobsmacked and thrilled by the progress Rewired State is now making eg demo-ing an email-based solution to TellUsOnce. Well done to the team for putting it on , and to the officials who are engaging with this.

Clearly it puts radical geekery firmly on the agenda. So it would be great to see this get into the IT strategic planning process also. There’s some evidence this is starting to happen (eg DWP’s IT strategy crowd-sourced from staff) but at the moment the platform we have, and the plans, appear disengaged from real contempory priorities and unlikely to deliver the real savings, change and agility that public serviecs need.

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Taking comments on draft #idealgits Thu, 18 Mar 2010 20:41:23 +0000 We’ve put the draft Ideal Government IT Strategy up in commentable form. Many thanks to all who have contributed content and comments to date on the blog and on the wiki.

Jerry, David at BCS and I hacked these sections together in a day from that raw content, trying to respect the thrust of all that was there but keeping something concise. We take responsibility for omissions and drafting errors that are still there. But there’s time to fix them.

Thanks to Harry at The Dextrous Web for creating the commentable version.

We’re now open to comments on this version between now and 25 March. First presentation is on 27 March to Jim Knight, DWP Minister responsible for the digital aspects of Smarter Government. We’re very grateful to him for putting time in his dairy at an even-busier-than-normal time.

So take the chance to say what we want from an ideal government IT strategy.

Two more things I really like for #idealgits: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 21:34:52 +0000 The latest Dutch e-Citizen Charter and

OSFA proposed guidelines for Open Government

UPDATE: make that three:

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ONS: where next for the Census? Sat, 27 Feb 2010 20:03:22 +0000 I dont get this.

The 2011 Census will adopt a similar processing strategy to that used in the 2001 Census.

But this is a £500m deal. And it’s 10 years on. Shouldn’t things have changed more than this?

The Times reported

The ONS has already formed a working group to investigate alternatives to the census. It will present it recommendations to the government after the 2011 survey.

“We’ve started thinking, ‘Okay, what comes beyond 2011?’” said Peter Benton, deputy director of the census at the ONS. “We’ve set up a programme to look at our need for information and the different ways we could meet that need in future.”

What do we do here? Does a bankrupt country want to spend £500m a time on a C19th process? How many Jedi will get recorded, as public trust in government data handling plummets?

But we need the data as much as ever; we need to build and improve the consistent data set, and we probably need more data now and in future rather than less. We need a census for the #PBAge.

ONS says it’s going to look at the sort of stuff that Finland has been doing for a decade. But have they looked at where the future is headed with VRM and volunteered personal information? What chance their supplier Lockheed Martin has been offering “thought leadership” on techniques that would slash the cost of the process (do they care if it were way more effedctive, and privacy-friendly?)

Perhaps when ONS feel sufficiently on top of the 2011 census, they’ll take a moment to look at this sort of stuff.

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